Creating Your Own Chaos: Lessons Learned

Published by Kathryn Anda, PEPworldwide on 30 September, 2013

Are you proud of your organisation and planning skills? Good! Me, too. It’s good to take pride in your talent!

And yet, just when I think I’m perfect, Chaos teaches me a lesson.

Years ago, I flew to Miami for a meeting. Everything was perfect: my luggage, my presentation, my meeting schedule. I was in total, brilliant control! 

As the plane touched down in Miami, I checked my calendar one last time. To my horror, I saw that I was…a week…early…for the meeting.

Oh, the humiliation! Oh, the mess! Oh, the lessons learned about Creating Your Own Chaos!

How could someone as clever as me make such a foolish error? Rather than blame myself, I decided to pour a glass of good wine and embrace the lesson.  After all, if I had the power to create this mess, I had equal power to prevent it.

So, how did I invite Chaos to steal my power?

I planned every single minute of every single day: Every white space in my calendar was filled with stuff to do before this meeting. Brilliant!

I had little lists with timed entries: My “to do” list was all in one place, categorised and colour-coded and I had figured out how many minutes every task would take! Brilliant!

I was a Super Hero! Who dared to question me? I was so perfect that I needed no advice. Brilliant!

I was on a productivity high! The more I did, the more I believed I could do. Brilliant!

I remembered everything! Once I’d plugged it into my calendar, I didn’t need to go back and check. I just knew! Brilliant!

The night before the flight, I slept smugly and snugly. What a marvel of businesslike planning was I!

Well, you know the next part. What I did not realise was how costly it is to clean up the mess after we let Chaos steal our power.

I had to pay double for a second, last-minute plane ticket to get there at the right time. I had to make excuses and reschedule all the meetings that I should have attended. I spent the whole week in Miami stressing that someone on the hotel staff would “out” me by saying  “Oh, how lovely to see you again! Weren’t you just here last week?” Oh, no!  I’d have to confess in front of people I wanted to impress. Worst of all, my beloved travel agent, Sybil, still rubs my nose in it every chance she gets!

The Lesson:  it’s cheaper to do it right the first time! Next week, I’ll write about how my “Lessons Learned” might help you to avoid Creating Your Own Chaos. 

Need help avoiding Chaos?  Look at our Personal Efficiency Programs.

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